A bachelor’s degree in computer engineering is one of the most common degrees college students attain. Also referred to as a four-year degree, a computer engineering program is crafted to take four years, or eight semesters, of full-time study to complete. The minimum number of credit hours for a bachelor's degree is around 120, but some programs require more than that.
The number of hours required are divided into required general education courses, a declared minor, and courses that are specific to a person’s major. For example, a computer engineering major will have to take biology, physical education, and at least a semester of a foreign language like every other college student. But then, the computer engineering major might take courses in database management as part of their minor, and then take all the courses required for computer engineering. Although the programs can be completed in four years, and sometimes less, some people need even longer, especially for those who attend school part-time. There are typically two types of bachelor’s degrees, a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts. The science degree is for math, science, and most technical programs, while art degrees cover areas such as education, arts, and communications. Once a person has attained a bachelor’s degree in their chosen major, they are considered ready for entry-level positions in their chosen field. It also sets a person up to continue their collegiate career by going to graduate school, law school, or pursuing a master’s in business administration.
What are the Best Online Bachelors in Computer Engineering College Programs?
Florida International University
- In-State: $6,565
- Out-of-State: $18,963
- Net Price: $8,988
- Retention Rate: 91%
- Graduation Rate: 67%
- Total Enrollment: 58,836
- Undergrad Students: 49,049
- Graduate Students: 9,787
- Diplomas Awarded: 110
- Grads Salary: $66,000
- Student-to-faculty: 25:1
University of Arizona
- In-State: $12,716
- Out-of-State: $36,743
- Net Price: $15,620
- Retention Rate: 85%
- Graduation Rate: 65%
- Total Enrollment: 45,601
- Undergrad Students: 35,357
- Graduate Students: 10,244
- Diplomas Awarded: 128
- Grads Salary: $76,000
- Student-to-faculty: 15:1
- In-State: $18,720
- Out-of-State: $18,720
- Net Price: $14,785
- Retention Rate: 77%
- Graduation Rate: 61%
- Total Enrollment: 10,483
- Undergrad Students: 4,533
- Graduate Students: 5,950
- Diplomas Awarded: NA
- Grads Salary: $60,000
- Student-to-faculty: 19:1
University of Arkansas
- In-State: $8,280
- Out-of-State: $8,280
- Net Price: $9,303
- Retention Rate: 53%
- Graduation Rate: 22%
- Total Enrollment: 6,465
- Undergrad Students: 5,319
- Graduate Students: 1,146
- Diplomas Awarded: 72
- Grads Salary: $76,000
- Student-to-faculty: 18:1
Old Dominion University
- In-State: $10,800
- Out-of-State: $30,960
- Net Price: $17,162
- Retention Rate: 76%
- Graduation Rate: 53%
- Total Enrollment: 24,286
- Undergrad Students: 19,622
- Graduate Students: 4,664
- Diplomas Awarded: 30
- Grads Salary: $70,000
- Student-to-faculty: 18:1
Colorado Technical University
- In-State: $12,573
- Out-of-State: $12,573
- Net Price: $17,048
- Retention Rate: 48%
- Graduation Rate: 23%
- Total Enrollment: 28,244
- Undergrad Students: 24,759
- Graduate Students: 3,485
- Diplomas Awarded: 4
- Grads Salary: $88,000
- Student-to-faculty: 31:1
Where Do You Earn a Bachelor’s Degree?
Bachelor’s degrees are earned at colleges and universities. In order for a school to offer bachelor’s degrees, they have to offer programs that require four-years to complete. Some colleges do not offer bachelor's degrees, but all universities do. These schools exist in their traditional brick and mortar forms but there are also quite a few online schools that offer bachelor's degrees. You generally cannot receive a bachelor's degree from a community college, but many of these schools are in partnership with universities that allow a student to attend the community college for their first two years and earn a bachelor's degree in the end. Universities can be public institutions run by the state or they can be private schools run by organizations such as churches.
Online Vs. Traditional Education in Computer Engineering
An online degree in computer engineering is easily attainable. At one time, an online degree was frowned upon and considered inferior to gaining a degree in the traditional manner, going onto campus and sitting in a classroom while an instructor lectured. But, with many mainstream colleges offering online programs and the advancements in technology, getting any degree, including computer engineering, via a completely online program is no longer an issue. This is especially beneficial for students who are currently working in the computer science industry. It allows students the ability to continue their education while they continue to work.
Although getting an online degree in computer engineering is no longer frowned upon, there are certain things that still need to be considered. One of the biggest factors is the school. In the early days of online learning, only for-profit schools had this option and some of their programs were less than stellar. But standards for online schools and programs have increased significantly over the last decade. Couple that with established brick and mortar schools now offering online versions of their degrees, and the online stigma is becoming a thing of history. The most important factor to consider is accreditation. If both the school and computer engineering program are regionally accredited, it is just as valid as a degree attained using in-person education methods.
What Are the Prerequisites for a Bachelor’s Degree?
In order to be accepted into a four-year degree at a college or university, certain criteria must be met.
Here are the usual criteria most colleges require for admissions.
- High school diploma or GED
- Transcripts from all schools attended must be sent to the school being applied to - These must be official transcripts that are sent from the old school to the new one
- A completed application as well as the application fee, if required
- Letters of recommendation may be required - If so, they must be submitted with the application
- ACT/SAT scores for schools that require them - Not all schools require this test, so check with the school regarding this requirement
- Proof of residency so the school will know whether you are an instate or out of state student
Why Earn a Bachelor’s Degree?
Some professions require a minimum level of education to progress. Although a person can begin their career in computer science with an associate degree, or even with no degree at all, at some point you’ll likely need to continue your education. For example, some certifications in computer science require applicants to have a four-year degree. For those who want to move into a management or supervisory position, a formal education might not technically be required, but it is definitely desired.
There’s also a financial benefit. Workers with a bachelor's degree often earn more than workers with less education. The good news is that, for those who already have an associate degree, attaining a bachelor’s degree will only take two more years of education, and possibly less if work and life experience can be applied. And, although the additional education requires a financial outlay, the increase in income can make up for any costs a person might have to cover. But there are scholarships, grants, and some employers even offer tuition reimbursement for workers who want to continue their education.
Why an Undergraduate Degree in Computer Engineering?
People choose a degree in computer engineering when they want to combine an engineering degree with computer science. A computer engineering programs is part electrical engineering and part computer science. Students gain knowledge in computer creation and design, engineering laws and practices, and how these two areas work together to advance technology and foster innovation. A degree in computer engineering opens many doors in both computer science and electrical engineering, so it’s extremely versatile. It’s also ideal for workers who want to move into supervisory roles or attain additional certifications that are also required to advance in a computer science career. Whether you want to work as a computer programmer, system analyst, software engineer, industrial engineer, or move over to network management, a degree in computer engineering is an ideal option worth considering.
What’s Involved in a Computer Engineering Bachelors?
So, at this point you might be wondering what classes you would have to take in a computer engineering program. Well, there are several factors that determine the course you would take, but here are some of the subjects that just about all computer engineering majors are required to cover.
- Applied algorithms for engineering
- Computer organization
- Control systems
- Introduction to software engineering
- Microcomputer architecture
- Probability theory in computer and electrical engineering
- Systems programming
As with other degree programs, there are also required courses that all college students must take such as biology, English, a foreign language, and physical education. And, depending on what specialization a student chooses, additional courses in that discipline are also required. For example, if a computer engineering major wants to focus on computer systems, then additional courses in system programming, troubleshooting, and security will often be required.
What to Consider When Choosing a Bachelor’s Program for Computer Engineering
When choosing a bachelor’s program in computer engineering, one of the main things you must consider is accreditation. You’ll want to choose a school that has regional accreditation from the US Department of Education’s agency, Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). If you want to receive any sort of financial aid to help with your education, you’ll need to attend a school whose accreditation is recognized by CHEA. This is also important because, as you progress in your career, certifications you might want to pursue often required a degree from a school that is accredited by CHEA.
There are six regional accreditation agencies that CHEA recognizes, which cover all states in the US:
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education
- New England Commission on Higher Education
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Southern Association of Colleges and School Commission on Colleges
- WASC Senior College and University Commission
When picking a school, check if the school is accredited by one of these agencies. They are usually based on geographic location, but if you don’t see a school accredited in a logical regional agency, check the others as well. Most colleges and universities that are regionally accredited state this fact somewhere in their information materials.
Further Computer Engineering Education
A master’s degree in computer engineering picks up where the bachelor’s degree left off. Students will gain additional education in computer programming, system engineering, and network security. Master’s degrees typically take 18 months to three years to complete and either a comprehensive exam or capstone project are required to complete the program. Getting a master’s degree will increase a worker’s earning potential and make them eligible for even more certifications.
Computer engineers who are working in a business or financial setting might choose to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) instead of a master’s degree in computer engineering. This would make engineers more attractive to corporate employers because, not only do they have an education in computer science, but they’ll also have a business background. This makes them more attractive to employers because they would have a better understanding of how businesses and financial institutions operate. MBAs also tend to take up to three years to complete.
Doctorate or PhD
This is a specialized program that is created depending on the student’s chosen program. Most doctorate programs take up to seven years to complete and require a dissertation be written and defended successfully for graduation.
Computer Engineering Certification
Certifications are the main way computer engineers and others working in computer sciences display their expertise. There are many certifications available for those in computer science, cyber security, and similar fields but we’ve listed the more common certifications below.
- Certified Software Development Professional – This certification comes from the IEEE and gives students a thorough understanding software engineering process: requirements, design, construction, and testing
- Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect
- Oracle Certified Master – One of most advanced certifications for database administrators or software engineers
- Project Management Professional – One of the most important certifications for a project manager
- Salesforce Administrator
Potential Computer Engineering Careers for Graduates
Computer engineers are trained in a variety of areas and that makes them eligible for many different positions.
Here are a few possible jobs a person with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering might pursue.
Computer programmers create the code that is used to run hardware and software. They check the code to make sure it runs properly and is as impervious to hacking as possible.
Tech Support Specialist:
Technical support specialists field calls from end-users regarding issues with hardware, software, and networks. They attempt to troubleshoot issues and offer solutions either via the telephone, email, or chat and, if the problem cannot be resolved, dispatch a specialist on site to fix the issue.
Multimedia programmers create audio, video, animation, and graphics to create products. They create much of the scenery gamers and interactive website visitors use and enjoy.
Forensic Computer Analyst:
When criminal activities are linked to computer use, a forensic programmer is called in to find the source of the activity and the people involved in the activity. They use different specialized programs and a special skillset to trace information back to its source.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a computer engineer is $119,560. The lowest income earners in the industry earn $70,100 per year, while the highest earners make around $192,100.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for computer engineers is expected to increase by 2% between 2020 and 2030. Although the growth is slower than in other industries, the demand could increase because new industries are being created at a rapid rate.